Deal worth well over $8 billion dollars put on hold by shareholder suit
The Delaware Chancery court has issued a ruling on a lawsuit, putting the pending sale of Vivendi's portion of Activision Blizzard back to its founders on hold. Activision is seeking to buy back 429 million shares of itself from Vivendi for $5.83 billion, with chief executive Bobby Kotick and chairman Brian Kelley will each purchase about 172 million shares of Activision stock.
Move will ditch French publisher, leave majority of shares in public hands
Videogame developer and publisher Activision Blizzard announced yesterday that is has reached an agreement for a total of $8.17 billion with French media conglomerate Vivendi, effectively buying itself out of its partnership. Activision Blizzard is contributing $5.83 billion at $13.60 per share, with Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelley purchasing 172 million company shares for $2.34 billion. Following the completion of the transaction, Activision Blizzard will be an independent company again, with the majority of its shares owned by the public.
Free claims competitors hitting below the belt
ARCEP, the French telecom regulator, has said it is going to inspect low-cost wireless provider Iliad's backbone network to make sure it is compliant with its bandwidth licensing requirements. The action takes place after Iliad's competitors raised complaints about Iliad's network performance and customer service. Iliad, which operates its wireless service under the Free name brand, denied the claims, discounting them as false rumors.
e-G8 summit works against French president
The e-G8 summit in Paris brought pressure on French president Nicolas Sarkozy for his comments on technology. Having argued for "minimum rules" that would have prevented sites like WikiLeaks from getting hosting and previously backed France's infamous three-strikes law, he was followed by a panel that rejected his calls for tighter regulation. Google executive president recapped a previous stance and said he was looking for a "technological solution" to make both sides happy before turning to laws, noting it was virtually impossible for government to understand change as quickly.
France to hold tech summit on May 24-25
The French government said Friday that it will hold a summit where big presences on the Internet such as Amazon, Facebook and Google will debate how countries can bring innovation to the web. The forum will be held on May 24 and 25 in Paris and is a part of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans. In attendance will be Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.
LimeWire ends lawsuit with 105m settlement
LimeWire on Thursday agreed to pay $105 million as part of its lawsuit settlement in what may be the last chapter in the company's history. The payout comes a quick week after a trial to determine the amount that should be paid to music label owners such as Sony, Vivendi, and Warner. The former peer-to-peer company said only that it was glad to be rid of the lawsuit.
Vivendi buys Vodafone stake in SFR
France's Vivendi said on Sunday that it was buying Vodafone's 44 percent share of SFR. The deal, worth 7.95 billion Euros ($11.32 billion), gives it complete control of the carrier. It and Vodafone will keep running SFR as a joint venture for three years, after which Vodafone would have to either talk to another provider or enter on its own.
Comcast has controlling stake, GE minority
Comcast today confirmed late rumors and bought a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal that gives it control of the studio. The deal sees GE maintain a 49 percent stake and receive about $6.5 billion from Comcast; NBC Universal in turn is borrowing $9.1 billion to pay GE. While the new combined company doesn't yet have a name, but Comcast has created a second division known as the Comcast Entertainment Group that will handle the content aspects of the venture.
Universal Music Profit
Universal Music may have finally reached the point at which purely digital music has become profitable, Vivendi Universal chief Jean Bernard LÚvy has told the Financial Times. Despite most major labels having seen rapid declines in CD sales that have yet to be compensated by online purchases, Universal now has a "surprise" for investors of a five percent boost in its first-half 2008 revenue to $3.1 billion where it would previously have posted a loss. The change is a sign that the company is nearing the point at which CDs can hurt its bottom line, according to LÚvy.